The Little Things in Life Sometimes Mean the Most

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Madeleine Hodges Mrs. Barsel English 11 Honors 3 November 2012 The Little Things in Life Sometimes Mean The Most Although Jhumpa Lahiri’s “A Temporary Matter” depicts a life altering event, it is told through tiny incidents. In Lahiri’s short story, Shoba and Shukumar are stuck in a failing marriage. After Shoba’s miscarriage, Shoba has been working long hours and Shukumar shuts himself inside what would have been the baby’s room working on his dissertation. They have become strangers in their own home, not speaking and eating in different rooms. They receive a notice their electricity will be turned off at 8:00PM for five evenings in a row in order to fix a power line. This forces them to spend five meals and five hours alone with each other. In these shared evenings Shukumar confides in Shoba and reflects on his marriage through seemingly insignificant instances. Yet these small or outwardly inconsequential reveal the pain and foreshadow the termination of their relationship. These instances illustrate that important events do not happen in one’s memory as sequential episodes, but in a series of random feelings, senses, and observations. In this way, the story exemplifies that it is the little things, the small, seemingly inconsequential memories that form our realities and memories. In the story’s exposition Shukumar notes the changes in his wife’s actions yet he never mentions what they really mean; that she is depressed and unhappy with their relationship. In one instance he notes “Her cranberry lipstick was visible only on the outer reaches of her mouth, and her eyeliner had left charcoal patches beneath her lower lashes”(1) and “She wore a navy blue poplin raincoat over gray sweatpants and white sneakers”,thus, “looking, at thirty-three, like the type of woman she'd once claimed she would never resemble” (1). This depicts a tired woman and her lack of

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